Jims Galley

Jims Galley

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Tomato Sandwich…. A True Southern Tradition

The Tomato Sandwich….
Yes I am a southerner. Born and raised in Virginia growing up in Richmond, the Chesapeake Bay as well as Lawrenceville VA, I grew up with certain Virginia table fare traditions. Lets see, at my grandparents’ house in South Side every dinner table had a side of salted smoked and cured ham sitting on a plate. Alongside the ham was a bowl of fresh cut cucumbers, sliced tomatoes and onions all from the garden. The vegetables were douched in apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. The vinegar veggies and ham were a side at every dinner, regardless of what the main course was. Main course in the south for us meant fresh shot Doves from the corn field, venison, or the infamous Brunswick stew. (I never took to Brunswick stew, everyone else in my family loved it.)
For desert, was usually fresh churned vanilla (always vanilla) ice cream topped with fresh black berries we had picked earlier in the day. After desert, my brother and I would go out and catch lighting bugs, put them in a jar and place bed side for our night light.
This may sound like a sepia tone moment, but the rustic throwback image would not be complete without the king of southern traditions, the tomato sandwich.
I grew up with fresh grown super big beefsteak tomatoes and they are the BEST for making tomato sandwiches. Some folks I hear spur up the standard tomato sandwich with bacon, lettuce, and other delights that are wonderful. However the authentic beginning of all sandwiches in the south start with the tomato.
Yes, this is a simple recipe. The complication is only fresh ripened summer tomatoes will work. The biggest beefsteak you can grow or purchase in late June or July is what you need. It takes one whole beefsteak to make a tomato sandwich. It’s a biggie, but nothing else will do. It is just delicious.
I look forward each year to tomato season and the time has come. Here is the incredibly simple recipe.
 ·         Use whole wheat bread rather thin sliced. Homemade is best, if not than just get a hearty whole wheat brand from the store.

·         Real mayo! Homemade or get the good stuff from the store. Spread liberally on the bread. ( Do NOT toast the bread)

·         Cut you tomato and salt and pepper each slice, and also pepper the sliced bread.

·         Load up the tomatoes on the bread, slice and serve.

Well, it can’t get any easier than that. The fact is that the simple tomato sandwich has a flavor profile all its own. Once you add bacon, etc., it takes on another form, a delicious form, but it does go in another delicious direction.
Jim Baugh
Author of Hooked & AFTERMATH

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